The Age of Chivalry eBook

Thomas Bulfinch
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 436 pages of information about The Age of Chivalry.

So on the morrow they arose, and heard mass; then King Bagdemagus asked where the adventurous shield was.  Anon a monk led him behind an altar, where the shield hung, as white as snow; but in the midst there was a red cross.  Then King Bagdemagus took the shield, and bare it out of the minster; and he said to Sir Galahad, “If it please you, abide here till ye know how I shall speed.”

Then King Bagdemagus and his squire rode forth:  and when they had ridden a mile or two, they saw a goodly knight come towards them, in white armor, horse and all; and he came as fast as his horse might run, with his spear in the rest; and King Bagdemagus directed his spear against him, and broke it upon the white knight, but the other struck him so hard that he broke the mails, and thrust him through the right shoulder, for the shield covered him not, and so he bare him from his horse.  Then the white knight turned his horse and rode away.

Then the squire went to King Bagdemagus, and asked him whether he were sore wounded or not.  “I am sore wounded,” said he, “and full hardly shall I escape death.”  Then the squire set him on his horse, and brought him to an abbey; and there he was taken down softly, and unarmed, and laid in a bed, and his wound was looked to, for he lay there long, and hardly escaped with his life.  And the squire brought the shield back to the abbey.

The next day Sir Galahad took the shield, and within a while he came to the hermitage, where he met the white knight, and each saluted the other courteously.  “Sir,” said Sir Galahad, “can you tell me the marvel of the shield?” “Sir,” said the white knight, “that shield belonged of old to the gentle knight, Joseph of Arimathea; and when he came to die he said, ’Never shall man bear this shield about his neck but he shall repent it, unto the time that Sir Galahad the good knight bear it, the last of my lineage, the which shall do many marvellous deeds.’” And then the white knight vanished away.


After Sir Gawain departed, he rode many days, both toward and forward, and at last he came to the abbey where Sir Galahad took the white shield.  And they told Sir Gawain of the marvellous adventure that Sir Galahad had done.  “Truly,” said Sir Gawain, “I am not happy that I took not the way that he went, for, if I may meet with him, I will not part from him lightly, that I may partake with him all the marvellous adventures which he shall achieve.”  “Sir,” said one of the monks, “he will not be of your fellowship.”  “Why?” said Sir Gawain.  “Sir,” said he, “because ye be sinful, and he is blissful.”  Then said the monk, “Sir Gawain, thou must do penance for thy sins.”  “Sir, what penance shall I do?” “Such as I will show,” said the good man.  “Nay,” said Sir Gawain, “I will do no penance, for we knights adventurous often suffer great woe and pain.”  “Well,” said the good man; and he held his peace.  And Sir Gawain departed.

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The Age of Chivalry from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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